Videogames en Maximum PC Goes to Video Games Live <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u154082/img_9757_0.jpg" alt="Video Games Live" title="Video Games Live" width="200" height="133" style="font-size: 10px; float: right;" />Pictures and impressions from the concert in San Francisco!</h3> <p>Last night Maximum PC had the chance to check out the very kick-ass <a title="Video Games Live" href="" target="_blank"><strong>Video Games Live</strong></a> event. For those unfamiliar with the show, Video Games Live is the premier videogame-themed orchestral touring concert, and this week the group is performing in San Francisco at the Davies Symphony Hall with the amazing San Francisco Symphony.</p> <p>Some of the musical scores featured last night included songs from Skyrim, Portal, and Final Fantasy. There were also some new, upcoming games that we won't spoil for you. Suffice it to say, all the song choices and synced-up videogame videos were excellent.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="//" width="420" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><em>Video Games Live trailer</em></strong></p> <p>If you're in the San Francisco Bay Area tonight, Video Games Live is performing another show at the Davies Symphony Hall. For everybody else, you can check out the <a title="VGL tour dates" href="" target="_blank">company's tour dates</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p>For more pictures and impressions from the event, check out our gallery below! What songs would you have liked to see performed? Let us know in the comments section!</p> 2013 july July 25 San Francisco SF vgl video games live Videogames News Features Fri, 26 Jul 2013 20:40:01 +0000 Jimmy Thang 26016 at FanimeCon 2013: Cosplay Gallery <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u154082/img_7060.jpg" alt="Chell Portal" title="Chell Portal" width="250" style="float: right;" />60 cosplay pictures from FanimeCon 2013</h3> <p>We had the chance to check out&nbsp;<a title="Fanime website" href="" target="_blank"><strong>FanimeCon 2013</strong></a>&nbsp;in San Jose, California this past weekend. While the annual event is widely known as an anime convention, gaming played a huge part of the show. In addition to having an entire expo hall dedicated to video games, there were a ton of game-inspired costumes. Popular outfits this year included the large roster of League of Legends champions to the ever popular Team Fortress 2 classes, and much, much more!</p> <p>Presented below are some of our favorite FanimeCon 2013 cosplay costumes. Let us know which ones are your favorite in the comments section!</p> 2013 anime conventions cosplay costume Fanime fanimecon League of Legends lol pictures san jose team fortress 2 TF2 Videogames Gaming News Features Wed, 29 May 2013 21:46:59 +0000 Jimmy Thang 25620 at Steam Database Hints Halo 3 Coming to PC <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/halo_3.png" alt="Halo 3" title="Halo 3 Master Chief" width="228" height="212" style="float: right;" />Nearly five years after it launched to Xbox 360, Halo 3 might finally be headed to the PC.</h3> <p>A small pile of evidence leads us to believe that Microsoft is working on porting <a href="" target="_blank"><strong>Halo 3</strong></a> to the PC, though nothing has been announced or is even remotely official. That's the word news and rumor site <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Fudzilla</em></a> has been hearing from "a number of sources," all of which say Microsoft is planning to release the five-year-old title using both their Games for Windows platform and via Steam. Could it be true?</p> <p>We did a little digging on the web, and while we couldn't uncover anything concrete, we did find that Steam's database shows an <a href="" target="_blank">entry for Halo 3</a> (courtesy of a forum post on <a href=";postcount=1" target="_blank"><em>NeoGAF</em></a>), along with a whole bunch of other upcoming titles.</p> <p>Alternately, it could mean that Valve is adding Steam Community hubs for non-Steam games, but based on <a href="" target="_blank">previous rumors</a>, it seems more likely that a PC port is in progress.</p> <p>Five years later, would you be interested in playing Halo 3 on PC?</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> games halo 3 microsoft Software Steam Valve Videogames News Mon, 04 Feb 2013 17:21:36 +0000 Paul Lilly 24957 at Max Payne 3 Review <!--paging_filter--><h2>The even bigger fall of Max Payne</h2> <p>Max Payne is a man who’s insanely uncomfortable inside his own skin. He’s still haunted by the death of his family, and in <strong>Max Payne 3</strong>, his body—more so than any random member of Brazil’s criminal underbelly—is the target of his most vicious attacks. Booze. Pills. Booze. Pills. Booze. Pills. Perhaps the most self-destructive character gaming has ever seen, Max is a ticking time bomb of good intentions and life’s harsh realities. And, for better or worse, so is this game. It claws desperately at greatness in so many places—a gripping cinematic narrative, real character development, a Rockstar-worthy world, utterly sublime shooting—but narrowly manages to fall short every time. In slow-mo.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u152332/mp3_4_small.jpg" width="620" height="465" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>If you like a linear narrative, look elsewhere: Max Payne 3 bounces all over the place, both time- and location-wise.</strong></p> <p>For instance, let’s take Max himself. This time around, the story centers on what he figured would be a simple job protecting a wealthy Brazilian businessman and his family. Of course, that goes out the window when a corrupt police force starts making Max’s life hell. Well, more than it already was. “So this was it,” he growls cynically after it’s all gone horribly wrong. “My easy retirement money. My bloodstained 401K.” On the upside, Max’s noir narrations (noirrations?) are back in full force—still fairly campy, but also dragged through a slurry sludge by Max’s nearly terminal case of self-loathing. And, you know, alcohol.</p> <p>But the story—in spite of Rockstar’s knack for fantastic acting and film-like cinematography—rarely meshes well with the game. Instead, it feels sadly beholden to the whims of Max Payne 3’s real star: glorious slow-mo gunslinging. Max’s narrations, then, are often wasted on bombastic variations of, “And then we walked through a door. And then we shot some guys.” The best bits, meanwhile, dive into Max’s stream of consciousness when the bullets stop flying. Unfortunately, this is a game about shooting people, so that doesn’t happen terribly often.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u152332/mp3_3_small.jpg" width="620" height="465" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>If only there was some form of superlative we could use to describe how much pain this man’s about to feel.</strong></p> <p>And yet, somewhat oddly, Max Payne 3’s shooting is equally anchored by the plot, dragging it down as well. Rockstar’s focus on grim plausibility (at least, for a game) demands less over-the-top gunplay, so slow-mo shootdodging isn’t typically your best option. Instead, we ended up spending most of our time taking advantage of a state-of-the-art cover system, huddled in fear of both bullet-sponge enemies and some nasty difficulty spikes brought on by a few truly terrible checkpoints. The checkpoint issue, especially, is a curse that’s followed Rockstar since GTA III, leading to downright infuriating repeated replays of sections that last upwards of 20 minutes.</p> <p>On top of that, there’s this annoying schism between the demands of Max Payne 3’s rapid-fire plot and the structure of a game. “Explore!” bellows Max Payne 3: The Videogame. “Collect golden gun pieces and look for largely useless and poorly implemented evidence! Don’t worry about the goons gunning down your partner. That doesn’t matter right now.” But then, as though the directorial devil to the freeform angel on your shoulder, Max Payne: The Movie steps in. “Oops, your partner died due to your negligence and you have to start this section over again,” it taunts. “Better luck next time.” And even when lives aren’t at stake, someone’s always whispering in Max’s ear. “What are you doing, Max? Hurry up! Go on! Jeez, you geezer. Did you die of old age back there?”</p> <p>That said, when all the dominoes are lined up properly, shooting sections are utterly wonderful. The animation and physics systems, especially, verge on astounding, with every inch of enemies’ bodies reacting to each specific bullet impact in gruesomely believable fashion. It simply feels amazing. And, of course, when our slow-mo dives didn’t end with Max’s mangled body clattering to the ground, it was like watching some kind of morbidly graceful bullet ballet. It all looks markedly better on a PC, too, with high-resolution textures popping while DirectX 11 hums along smoothly in the background.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u152332/mp3_1_small.jpg" width="620" height="350" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Max has seen much, much better days.</strong></p> <p>Moreover, Rockstar quite obviously did take into account that players would probably get stuck on many sections, and—though better checkpoints would’ve been much preferred—its solutions are subtly ingenious when taken on their own terms. Foremost, there’s adaptive difficulty. Dying once simply brought us back with full health, but biting the big one twice on the same part yielded full bullet time as well. Three times, meanwhile, handed us a nice big bottle of health-restoring painkillers for our troubles. Bad habits die hard, except when you die hard and it reinforces your bad habit, apparently.</p> <p>For better or worse, multiplayer nearly matches single-player for sheer quantity of serious ups and downs. On one hand, it encourages far less cover-taking and allows for exciting pockets of bullet time based on line-of-sight, but the shell around it is pretty much exactly what you’d expect. It’s an all-too-traditional rhythm: shoot guys, gain XP, level up, unlock a tediously standard set of weapons, etc. That rusty casing, however, surrounds a couple of modes that are incredibly well thought-out. Payne Killer, for instance, sees two players morph into Max and his partner, Raul Passos, with extra firepower and health items to match. The remaining six players—completely bereft of any extra abilities—then have to hunt them down. The end result is utterly frantic asymmetrical teamwork.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u152332/mp3_5_small.jpg" width="620" height="465" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Who said Brazil can’t look dark, moody, and noir-ish?</strong></p> <p>Gang Wars, meanwhile, is round-based and decides objectives based on the biggest bullet points from earlier battles. So basically, it weaves its own little narrative thread, resulting in, among other things, manhunts for the player with a previous round’s highest killcount, defusing bombs set in your territory, and assassinating prized targets. Then the final round explodes into blissful deathmatch chaos where whichever team is down on points makes a desperate (and sometimes successful) attempt at turning the tides. So, the bottom line? There’s big potential in Max Payne 3’s multiplayer, but—between snooze-inducingly standard progression and a lack of interesting maps—the lasting appeal isn’t there.</p> <p>Taken as a package, then, Max Payne 3 dual-wields some truly formidable ideas, but never really hits home with any of them. Given room to breathe, its story could’ve been a tale for the ages. With a bit more fine-tuning, its action could’ve been some of the best in the business. And its multiplayer really tried to integrate with the game’s world and setting, which is extremely admirable. As a result, Max Payne 3 is most certainly not by any means painful, but it hurts to know how incredible it could’ve been.</p> games Gaming gta Max Payne 3 maximum pc Review Rockstar Videogames Software Games September Reviews Thu, 04 Oct 2012 15:48:53 +0000 Nathan Grayson 24285 at Cable Companies Want to Kick Consoles Out of the Living Room with Streaming Games <!--paging_filter--><p><img src="/files/u69/controller_remote.jpg" alt="Controller and Remote" title="Xbox 360 Controller and Remote" width="228" height="180" style="float: right;" />The Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii might not be the best of friends, but together, the trio own the living room when it comes to gaming. The question is, for how long? Devices like <a href="">Ouya</a>, a $99 Android console, threaten to whittle away at the big three's userbase, though perhaps the biggest threat will come from cable companies. AT&amp;T, Verizon, and Time Warner Cable are all reportedly getting ready to roll out cloud-based gaming service.</p> <p>According to <a href=""><em>Bloomberg</em></a>, all three are on pace to test gaming services later this year, with widespread deployment to follow in early 2013. That could pose a problem for Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo, all three of which haven't had to worry too much about streaming competition up to this point.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u69/xbox_live.jpg" alt="Xbox Live Dashboard" title="Xbox Live" width="450" height="253" /></p> <p>If you ask us, however, the more likely scenario is that cable companies will have some success in dishing up casual games, like Angry Birds and the like, but they're unlikely to pose a serious threat to hardcore -- or even medium-core -- gaming. The other challenge for cable companies is dealing with data caps, though they could get around that restriction by allowing subscribers to play streaming games without it counting against their monthly quota.</p> <p>What do you think -- do cable companies pose any real threat to console makers?</p> at&t cable Consoles games maximum tech Time Warner Cable Verizon video games Videogames News Tue, 25 Sep 2012 17:49:54 +0000 Paul Lilly 24221 at Sony Unveils Another Slim PlayStation 3 Console, Still Mum on PS4 <!--paging_filter--><p><img src="/files/u69/sony_ps3_superslim.jpg" alt="Sony PlayStation 3" width="228" height="174" style="float: right;" />Hey look, <a href=""><strong>Sony</strong></a> is launching a new <a href=""><strong>PlayStation</strong></a> console! Before you wet your pants with excitement, this isn't the new PS console you're looking for, young Padawan, provided you've been looking high and low for news of a PS4. No, the new console you're looking at is still a PS3, albeit slimmer and lighter than before, just as the PS3 Slim was slimmer and lighter than the original.</p> <p>This time around, Sony said it completely redesigned the internal architecture, resulting in 25 percent less volume and a 20 percent lighter design compared to the current PS3; both have been cut in half compared to the original. Aesthetically, it maintains the same general style and will be available in black or white.</p> <p>While smaller and lighter, the new PS3 comes with more storage capacity. Instead of the 160GB and 320GB models that are currently available, Sony will sell 250GB ($269 in bundle form, September 25th) and 500GB ($299, October 30th) units.</p> <p>"With the extra HDD capacity which has been extended from 320GB and 160GB, users can store and enjoy more and more entertainment content including games, music, photos, and video on the new PS3," <a href="">Sony said</a>.</p> <p>Sony will launch the 250GB PS3 as a limited edition bundle that includes Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception: Game of the Year Edition, along with a DLC voucher worth $30. The 500GB model will also ship initially as a limited edition bundle with Assassin's Creed 3 and a 30-day PlayStation Plus subscription.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="">Facebook</a></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> console games Hardware Playstation 3 ps3 sony super slim Videogames News Wed, 19 Sep 2012 15:36:25 +0000 Paul Lilly 24187 at Transformers: Fall of Cybertron Review <!--paging_filter--><h3><span style="color: #800000;">Oh, we’ve got trouble, right here in Autobot city</span></h3> <p>There’s some magical quality about the Transformers brand, a wonderful beauty in the idea that giant, walking Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em robots—who absolutely hate each other, we note—can transform into the coolest of cars, the heaviest of machinery, the biggest of guns… or even larger, walking Rock ‘Em, Sock ‘Em robots.</p> <p>But if you, like us, have spent the last few years watching Michael Bay transform the franchise into a toilet, you’re probably a bit skeptical about anything Transformers-related that hits the shelves or screens nowadays. Worry not. You need only to play <a href="" target="_blank"><strong>Transformers: Fall of Cybertron</strong></a> to rekindle your love affair with all things morphing, punching, and shooting.</p> <p style="text-align: center; "><img src="/files/u154280/auto_1.jpg" alt="Transformers: Fall of Cybertron " title="Transformers: Fall of Cybertron " width="600" height="375" /></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><strong>Nothing says “Autobot BFF” like a Transformer the size of a freakin’ building. Not the guy to hack off in this game.</strong></p> <p style="text-align: left;">Unfortunately, while Transformers: Fall of Cybertron might be an excellent Transformers game, it’s not an excellent game in general. It’s a fairly nondescript shoot-‘em-up that fits the genre’s trappings to a giant, Transformers-size T, and that’s just the single-player campaign. Multiplayer has all the liveliness of a quarter-filled Energon cube—even given the ever-present bit about being able to seamlessly transform from robot to vehicle at a moment’s notice.</p> <p>Developer <a href="">High Moon Studios</a> takes the unique approach of framing most of the game’s single player levels from the perspective of a single Transformer. And, no, you’re not just stuck to fighting as the good guys—thankfully. One can only take so much Optimus Prime preaching.</p> <p>The game switches from the friendly Autobots to the mean Decepticons about halfway through, up until the very last level, which is a kind-of schizophrenic-like romp between each faction. The game’s big finale forces you to make a definitive choice that you can probably see coming from a mile away. No spoilers, but you don’t have to be Perceptor to figure out how this one wraps up—minus the ending, the ever-bouncing story is one of the game’s more compelling elements for Transformers fans.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u154280/auto_2.jpg" alt="Transformers: Fall of Cybertron" title="Transformers: Fall of Cybertron" width="600" height="375" /></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><strong>You get a ton of options to customize the look of your multiplayer Transformers character, but we wish you could pick from an assortment of vehicles to transform into.</strong></p> <p style="text-align: left;">While we love the game’s lovely look and feel (minus the pre-rendered cutscenes, whose quality varies greatly), the raw mechanics—basically, one Transformer with one special power that you always use throughout the level—forces a single gimmick on players that starts to grow tiresome in each of the game’s 13 hour-long levels.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: left;">In some cases, your character feels absurdly overpowered, like when you gain access to nearly unlimited artillery barrages in chapters two and three. Fun, but not satisfying. When you’re intentionally transformed into a robot god, however, it’s a blast: Controlling Bruticus is a delightful reward for the borderline-tedium of steamrolling your way through Cybertron.&nbsp;</p> <p>Combat in Transformers: Fall of Cybertron feels very Gears of War. In fact, the entire plot of the first third of the game—discovering a lake full of Energon at some processing plant, only to have to fight off waves of Insecticons while doing so—screams Imulsion and Lambents.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u154280/auto_3.jpg" alt="Transformers: Fall of Cybertron" title="Transformers: Fall of Cybertron" width="600" height="375" /></p> <p><strong>The game’s deathmatch maps feel a little cramped, especially since everyone’s driving or flying around half the time.</strong></p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">In all seriousness, much of the game feels like you’re hopping from combat zone to combat zone and just waiting out hordes of enemy robots – while waiting for your Halo-like shield to recharge. You don’t get to actually take cover in this title (or even duck). You instead just maneuver your Transformer behind cover and hit a key to swap your gun between hands and shift the over-the-shoulder view from side-to-side – the game’s major strategy becomes, “how easily can I cheap-shot that robot by angling my gun just barely over the cover of a box.”</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">When the game tries to get fancy – like the big “stealth” section during Cliffjumper’s chapter – it doesn’t feel very polished. <a href="" target="_blank">Deux Ex: Human Revolution</a>, this bit is not. I frequently found it easier to use the Autobot’s stealth capabilities as a quick means for an absurdly obvious one-shot kill, like cloaking right in front of a Decepticon, moving slightly to its rear, and bashing its robotic noggin’ in via one-button kill.</p> <p>The very premise of Transformers: Fall of Cybertron might center on artificial intelligence, but this game’s enemies don’t appear to be all that aware of their surroundings (especially when you take out one of their peers all of a few feet away; don’t giant robots make noise when they hit the ground?)</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="color: #800000;"><img src="/files/u154280/auto_nocap.jpg" alt="Transformers: Fall of Cybertron" title="Transformers: Fall of Cybertron " width="600" height="375" /></span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="color: #000000;"><strong>When in doubt, running over enemies as a transformed bot works just as well in Cybertron as it does in Grand Theft Auto.</strong></span></p> <p>For whatever reason, giant, walking robots don’t have any place to store much ammo or weaponry in the game—even Gears of War’s meager humans could support four items of destruction and plenty of ammo. You only get to hold two weapons at a given time as a typical Transformer, which you swap out at one of the many Teletran 1 kiosks littering each level. It’s here where you go about the usual buying new weapons, buying perks, and upgrading stuff part of most shooters: The currency, Energon, comes from your dispatched enemies or crates and other items you destroy within missions.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">No, it doesn’t get much sillier than watching a giant, walking tank punch stacks of crates for cash—except maybe when you have to purchase access to a gun that you’re… already… holding.</p> <p>While its core “transforming” mechanic is certainly fun, the game might have been better as less of a forced romp through a small, specific set of terrain, and more of a choose-your-own-path, objective-driven shooter. Or, dare we say it, a Lego-style game: You get 15 of your favorite Transformers to pick from to complete a chapter, with the levels designed to accommodate those who like stealth, those who like maneuverability, or those who like blowing holes in walls and robots alike. It would make Transformers: Fall of Cybertron worth more than a single play-through.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u154280/auto_4.jpg" alt="Transformer: Fall of Cybertron" title="Transformer: Fall of Cybertron" /></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><strong>In the Transformers world, it’s never too close for missiles—but you can still transform and switch to guns if you really want to.</strong></p> <p>The game’s multiplayer mode does little to hook you into its long-term, character-leveling experience. Deathmatch levels feel cramped, game modes are archetypal and stale, and even its “unique” Escalation mode is just a small and simplified version of Gears of War’s Horde Mode—we’d rather play Super Monday Night Combat. Yes, you can customize your own transformer, but critically missing is the option to select from a ton of vehicles or forms you’d want it to turn into. We don’t care about paint jobs and armor. We want MPCBot to transform into a giant T-Rex.</p> <p>While Transformers: Fall of Cybertron isn’t going to win any awards for its gameplay, its standardized action elements are lifted by all the fun and unique Transformers tie-ins: from the great story, to the epic music and character cameos, to Peter Cullen himself voicing everyone’s favorite semi truck. Don’t play this game because you want a realistic action shooter devoid of all those stereotypical “finding 85 hidden things per level” bits. Play this game because you love Transformers and you want to experience a new story-with-shooting that’s presented enjoyably, not excellently.&nbsp;</p> games Gaming maximum pc michael bay movie rating score Transformers: Fall for Cybertron review video Videogames Games Gaming Reviews December Mon, 17 Sep 2012 23:23:46 +0000 David Murphy 24175 at Neo Geo X to Debut at $130 as Standalone System in December <!--paging_filter--><p><img src="/files/u69/neogeo.jpg" alt="Neo Geo X" width="228" height="160" style="float: right;" />As we <a href="">reported in August</a>, <a href=""><strong>Neo Geo</strong></a> is booking a comeback tour in the form of the <a href="">Neo Geo X</a>, a handheld console that will go on sale in December. At the time, we said it would cost $200 for the Gold edition and come with 20 pre-installed games to celebrate the console's 20th anniversary, but we now know there will also be a less expensive version, one that runs $130 and will also come with the same collection of games. So, what's the difference?</p> <p>Well, the standalone console (versus the Gold version) won't come with a charging dock or joystick. The charging dock lets gamers hook the Neo Geo X up to their HDTV, while the joystick is intended to replicate the arcade experience at home.</p> <p>If you can live without those amenities, the standalone console saves you $70 and pushes the handheld console into relatively affordable territory, albeit it's still a little pricey considering the age of the titles. And if you change your mind, you can always buy the joystick and dock separately, though SNK Playmore has yet to announce pricing info for either of those.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u69/neo_geo_x.jpg" alt="Neo Geo X Handheld" width="500" height="222" /></p> <p style="text-align: left;">Any thoughts on the standalone price? Sound off in the comments section below!</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="">Facebook</a></em></p> console games Gaming handheld Hardware maximum tech mobile neo geo x Videogames News Wed, 12 Sep 2012 15:31:44 +0000 Paul Lilly 24153 at Valve Sees the 'Big Picture' in Gaming, Launches Revised Steam Interface for TV Today <!--paging_filter--><p><img src="/files/u69/valve_tv.jpg" width="228" height="190" style="float: right;" />It's called "<a href="">big picture mode</a>," and it's how <a href=""><strong>Valve</strong></a> intends to declare war on consoles. Launching in beta form today, big picture mode is a special interface for <a href="">Steam</a> that's more appropriate for viewing on a living room television set than the current one you see on your PC. It's Valve's answer to the walled garden approach console makers have taken with their platforms, and could be the first step towards the oft-rumored <a href="">Steam Box</a> that's talked about every so often.</p> <p>Don't worry if you're a big fan of Steam just the way it is, the new viewing mode is completely optional and intended for gamers who want take their pastime into the living room, PC in tow. For those that do, big picture mode boasts full controller support, without shunning the keyboard and mouse.</p> <p>"Steam’s big-picture mode doesn’t require any additional development from you. Just ensure your game works well with a controller, and we’ll take care of the rest," Valve explains on its Big Picture portal. "And don’t worry, keyboard and mouse aren’t going anywhere—users will be able to switch between input devices at any time."</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u69/steam_stock.jpg" alt="Steam Big Picture Mode" width="500" height="361" /></p> <p>Valve co-founder Gabe Newell has been <a href="">very outspoken</a> in his disdain for wall garden ecosystems, such as the one he fears Microsoft is building around Windows 8. With projects like big picture mode and <a href="">recent hirings</a> for hardware developers making the news, it seems increasingly likely Valve is headed towards a Steam Box, which is essentially a PC-console hybrid.</p> <p>If you want to catch a glimpse of what big picture mode will look like, <a href=""><em>Kotaku</em></a> posted a bunch of screenshots of the new interface. Note the larger fonts and icons that are easier to view on a TV, along with an overall look that's somewhat similar to the Xbox 360's dashboard.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="">Facebook</a></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> big picture mode games Software Steam Valve Videogames News Mon, 10 Sep 2012 14:19:52 +0000 Paul Lilly 24139 at Mobile Users Boast the Biggest Gaming Posse, NPD Group Says <!--paging_filter--><p><img src="/files/u69/nexus_7_game.jpg" width="228" height="200" style="float: right;" />Move over PC and console gamers, and make way for the mobile crowd. According to new data by <a href=""><strong>NPD Group</strong></a>, mobile users are the new face of gaming and represent just one of two segments that saw growth in the games industry. The other, not surprisingly, is digital gaming. As a whole, the total number of gamers in the U.S. is down, declining 5 percent (since 2011) to 211.5 million people, NPD Group reports.</p> <p>"While this study segments the gaming audience based on a number of key variables and attributes, looking across the total gaming audience we see a tremendous impact from mobile gaming, particularly on smartphones and tablets," <a href="">said Anita Frazier</a>, industry analyst for NPD Group. "Because of this, our next study, which will be released later this month, takes a deeper look into the area of mobile gaming."</p> <p>So-called "Core Gamers" still spend more than any other category of gamer. On average, gamers spent $48 on physical games and $16 on digital games during the past three months, compared to Core Gamers, who spent $65 on physical games during the same time period.</p> <p><img src="/files/u69/bejeweled.jpg" alt="Bejeweled Smartphone" width="400" height="300" /></p> <p>"Given the long lifecycles of the current consoles and the increasing installed base of smartphones and tablets, it's not surprising to see a slight decline in the Core Gamer segment," said Frazier. "It's the revenue contribution of the Core Gamer segment that continues to outpace all other segments, and remains vital to the future of the industry."</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="">Facebook</a></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> games mobile NPD Group Software Videogames News Thu, 06 Sep 2012 16:38:18 +0000 Paul Lilly 24121 at Rovio: Angry Birds 'Bad Piggies' Spinoff Launches September 27 <!--paging_filter--><p><img src="/files/u69/bad_piggies.jpg" width="228" height="165" style="float: right;" />If you always thought the egg-stealing pigs in <a href=""><strong>Rovio's</strong></a> incredibly popular Angry Birds series got a bad wrap, don't worry, you're not bacon up the wrong tree. Come September 27, Rovio invites you to go hog wild in "Bad Piggies," an Angry Birds spinoff that "turns the franchise on its head" and lets you play as one of the pigs. The title will feature brand new gameplay, and Rovio promises there isn't a slingshot in sight.</p> <p>"There’s a lot of empathy towards the lovable enemies from the Angry Birds games, and we’ve been constantly asked: what about the pigs’ side of the story?," <a href="">said Mikael Hed, CEO of Rovio</a>. "Bad Piggies gives you the chance to play as the second-most-loved characters in the Angry Birds universe, and explore this rich world through their green eyes."</p> <p>Apple iOS, Mac, and Google Android users will be the first to unlock their inner swine, though Rovio says it plans to launch versions for Windows Phone, Windows 8, and PC shortly after the September 27 launch. Exactly when, however, is not yet known.</p> <p><iframe src="" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="">Facebook</a></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> angry birds bad piggies games rovio Software Videogames News Wed, 05 Sep 2012 14:20:55 +0000 Paul Lilly 24115 at Valve Opens Feature Enhanced Steam Community to Everyone <!--paging_filter--><p><a href=""><strong><img src="/files/u69/steam_community.jpg" alt="Steam Community Thumbnail" width="228" height="172" style="float: right;" />Valve's</strong></a> Steam Community shed its beta baggage and is now open to anyone in the general public interested in finding and sharing game related content. The cleaned up release introduces a handful of new features, like automatically formatting YouTube links, a slick new interface (including a collage of your finest gaming moments on the screenshots page), the ability to search within discussions areas, and other goodies.</p> <p>When <a href="">first announced a month ago</a>, Valve said the massive overhaul to the Steam Community was all about "showing off the best content gamers have created." Towards that end, there are now more than 94 million gamer generated screenshots, videos, and Workshop items (maps, levels, mods, etc) being shared throughout Steam's ecosystem.</p> <p>The new Steam Community wrangles it all together in an attempt to create a more socially connected experience, one that's easy to navigate. Every game has its own hub, there are group updates,<strong> </strong>group moderation, and more.</p> <p><img src="/files/u69/steam.jpg" alt="Steam Screenshot" width="400" height="257" /></p> <p><a href="">Check it out</a> and let us know what you think in the comments section below.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="">Facebook</a></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> games Social Networking Software Steam steam community Valve Videogames News Wed, 05 Sep 2012 14:01:07 +0000 Paul Lilly 24114 at Microsoft Reveals First Batch of Xbox Live Games for Windows 8 <!--paging_filter--><p><img src="/files/u69/xbox_windows_8.jpg" width="228" height="140" style="float: right;" />For those of you wondering what Xbox Live titles Microsoft will have ready for Windows 8 when it ships to the general public on October 26, 2012, you can stop guessing. The Redmond software giant today unveiled the first wave of titles that will ship for the platform, a total of 40 games, 29 of which are from Microsoft Studios. If you're expecting heavy-hitting titles like Halo, you're going to be disappointed, but if you're more into Angry Birds these days, you'll like what the company has on tap.</p> <p>Angry Birds and Angry Birds Space are among the 40 titles, as are similar casual games like Cut the Rope. Microsoft said a number of studios are committed to bringing Xbox Live games to Windows 8, including Rovio, Miniclip, Gameloft, ZeptoLab, Glu Mobile, and Halfbrick studios.</p> <p>"Xbox games will be super easy to discover through the Games app that comes with Windows 8 and available through the Windows Store," Microsoft said. "Xbox games for Windows 8 will have Xbox Achievements as well as the ability to take advantage of certain Xbox features such as leaderboards, multiplayer modes, and connecting with friends."</p> <p>You can view a full list of titles on Microsoft's <a href="">Windows Team blog</a>.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="">Facebook</a></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> games microsoft Videogames Windows windows 8 xbox News Fri, 31 Aug 2012 15:06:53 +0000 Paul Lilly 24094 at Archos Gambles on Dedicated Consoles with 7-inch Android Powered GamePad <!--paging_filter--><p><img src="/files/u69/archos_gamepad.jpg" width="228" height="172" style="float: right;" />Handheld consoles don't seem to be the hot commodities that they used to be back before everyone owned smartphones, but don't tell Archos there isn't a market for such a thing. Not only does Archos believe there is, the company is betting big on it by launching its Android-powered 'GamePad' device with a 7-inch capacitive display and physical gaming control buttons and analog sticks.</p> <p>The idea is to deliver a full tablet and gaming experience in a single device, Archos says. Underneath the hood is a dual-core processor running at 1.5GHz and a Mali 400 MP quad-core GPU for pixel pushing power. The GamePad has automatic game recognition and mapping tools to ensure control compatibility with every advanced Android game, the company claims.</p> <p>"When Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich, was first released they included game controller support within the framework and that is when we decided to build the GamePad,"<a href=""> says Henri Crohas (PDF)</a>, Archos founder and CEO. "Thanks to the mapping and automatic game recognition systems included on the GamePad, we already have over a thousand android games compatible with the Archos GamePad’s physical controls, including back catalog titles that originally didn’t include physical controls."</p> <p>The GamePad will feature Wi-Fi connectivity and full access to the Google Play store when it launches in October. Pricing hasn't been revealed, other than saying it will cost "less than 150€" (~US$188).</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="">Facebook</a></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> android archos console games Gaming handheld Hardware maximum tech mobile Videogames News Wed, 29 Aug 2012 19:31:07 +0000 Paul Lilly 24076 at Don't Hold Your Breath Waiting for Xbox 360 Price Cuts <!--paging_filter--><p><img src="/files/u69/xbox_360_ring.jpg" width="228" height="103" style="float: right;" />With the holiday shopping season not far off in the distance, you might be tempted to put off purchasing an Xbox 360 console (assuming you're in the market for one to begin with) in hopes of taking advantage of a price cut. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear Microsoft is planning to lower the cost of its console, at least not for the rest of 2012, though there's a good chance it will launch another holiday bundle this year.</p> <p>You can take this with a grain of salt, but the <a href="">folks at <em>Fudzilla</em> claim to have heard</a> from un-named sources that the recent Kinect price cut is all that's coming to the Xbox 360 console this year. Microsoft recently slashed the Kinect (permanently) by $40, which now sells for $110.</p> <p>That probably means the Xbox 360/Kindle bundle will likely see a $40 price drop as well, but that's all related to the motion control sensor, not the console itself.</p> <p>"Beyond that, Microsoft will hold steady with its current hardware pricing," <em>Fudzilla</em> says.</p> <p>This upcoming holiday shopping season could be one of the last hurrahs for the Xbox 360. Rumor has it Microsoft will unveil its next generation console, codenamed Durango, in 2013, perhaps launching the system around November or December of next year.</p> <p>Image Credit: Microsoft</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="">Facebook</a></em></p> console games Hardware microsoft Videogames Xbox 360 News Mon, 27 Aug 2012 14:20:33 +0000 Paul Lilly 24059 at